One of the greatest lives in 20th-century French arts and politics is rendered as dull as a historical timetable in “Malraux,” vet Gallic writer-helmer Michele Rosier’s listless dramatization. Epic in length only, pic’s lack of budgetary resources is one thing; harder to excuse are its flat pacing, indifferent visuals and negligible emotional engagement. Subject will guarantee tube play in French-speaking territories, but would have been far better served by docu treatment.
Born just after the turn of the last century, Andre Malraux showed a taste for adventure from an early age, traipsing off to Cambodia with first wife Clara in search of fortune, then to Indochina as a leftist journalist. His literary fame secured by the novel “Man’s Fate” in 1933, he continued to place politics first — via service in the Spanish Civil War, antifascist campaigns and late-WWII Resistance efforts — only to find his Marxist sympathies slowly eroded as a high-ranking official under DeGaulle. Malraux undoubtedly was a man of greater intellectual clarity than emotional access. Still, turgid bio fails to make anything more vivid than the remote personality (played as a young man by Jerome Robart, in maturity by Philippe Clevenot) at its colorless center.